Tender-hearted, and with some trepidation, I walked alone beneath the moonlight through ponderosa forest as I made my way back to my solitary camp on a desert plateau. With a piercing longing in my heart, I had gone out to ask questions of the Beloved Night.

“What, oh Wild Darkness, do you want from me? I’m tired of always walking alone—so tired I fear I cannot take one more step. And with no human to walk with hand in hand, I have come to you, oh Lover Night, oh Charming Moon, oh Precious Earth. What would you like of me?”

The Night spoke back in a voice full of delight, “ You know…what really turns me on, sweet woman, is you, dressed in a hooded black cloak, singing to me through the forests and the hills”.

Blushing, I said, “Well, alright,” and put on my black cloak, woven by the grandmothers of my dreams. I pulled the hood over my long, red hair, and began to sing. Long had I struggled to uncover the full range of my voice—to hit all the high notes I wished to express. But as I walked, my voice began to rise, and what came through me was a medicine voice—ancient and streaming like a silver river flowing beneath the moonlight.

My voice became so powerful I could swear there were many voices singing. But when I’d stop, I could hear nothing but the crickets, the sound of the wind through the trees, and the distant owl call. Again I would sing, and again I would stop. Baffled, I sang on.

I wound my way through the forest, no longer feeling any fear. As if the whole forest knew me and beckoned me to carry on. I soon realized that the voices on top of my song were the sounds of my own voice, echoing back at me from the trees. With this insight the Night, laughing and weeping all at once, spoke to me again. “You see dear woman, we the Forest and the Night, have been longing for your song for ages. A woman’s voice has great power and its vibrations are greatly needed now. For centuries the Earth has been bereft of this great gift—a woman’s voice being silenced so. We creatures of the Earth can not be fully ourselves without it. Your voice is a part of us.

And now our lives are being threatened by machines and all the rest. Our vast networks are being severed underground; the web of life unraveling.

You give your voice and you bring us hope and the whole forest sings!”

Swept up in the words of the Night, my heart began to swell. “Oh Lover Night, Oh Charming Moon, Oh Precious Earth, I love you so! What MORE can I do for you?”

The Night, now dripping with Love, in a voice of passion spoke, “Be my lover forevermore, never hide your voice again—put all your love behind your song and offer it without end.”

So night after night I walked the forest and the hills, cloaked in black. I filled my heart with love and sang it to the Lover Night, the Charming Moon, the Precious Earth. Each night I was protected. Each night I was embraced with love. And soon even the ears of humans began to hear my song, carrying through the trees at night—filling them too with enchantment for which they long. My sisters wished to join me in this wild and loving song.

The Night spoke to me again in a voice filled with immeasurable love— “Oh please, I beg you sweet lover of mine, gather all of the women, and tell them of your soul’s song. Then bring them here, into the night. For THIS I truly long!”

“Oh Lover Night, oh Charming Moon, oh Precious Earth—I finally know my place. I no longer weep from loneliness. For you I would give it all.”

I ran out into the world and gathered a million strong. We traveled to the forests, hills, and waters and sang our medicine songs. The Night began to shutter. The roots began to grow. All the rivers started running clear and the women began to know all the powers in their voice that had been forgotten so long ago.

The women fell for Lover Night, pledged their lives to the Earth and Moon. And I have never felt alone since. While something magical grows in my womb.

ERICA RHINEHART is a poet, blood witch, and nature-based guide to soul and Guide with Animas Valley Institute. Her primary practice is working with the ancestors to heal multigenerational trauma and to bring forth buried ancestral memory for the sake of planetary transformation. She spends her free time exploring the world-making power of the written, spoken, and lyrical word through writing and singing.

Image: river valley, Colorado, by Erica Rhinehart

Thank you Erica Rhinehart for your offering for Earthsongwave Dawn Chorus 2020. Erica is also a contact for Earthsongwave Dawn Chorus in Colorado, USA.

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A Song of Creation

There is a terrible silence, a ragged-edged purple-black well of darkness, rising from the heart of the Land, casting its dreadful shadow over the whole world.

It is the void created by the absence of one billion – more than one billion - Beings, lost – lost - in the never-before-seen fires, raging infernos that have razed the Land of Australia. Their voices will be missing at Earthwavesong Dawn Chorus on April 1, 2020 – the sounds, signals, songs, croaks and cries of Beings of the more-than-human world who have perished in the fires - fires burning since July 2019 – fires which have razed more than 11 million hectares of Land, including rainforest thought too wet to burn. Many small mammals, lizards, geckos, freshwater fish and crayfish, frogs, worms, and birds such as the superb lyrebird and the plains wanderer who are ground-dwelling and thus extremely vulnerable – all silent now. Lichens, microbes, mosses and the microscopic beginnings of Life – obliterated.

It is simply unbearable. How will we bear it?

Francis Weller, speaking of ecological grief, asks “What if the feelings we have when we ‘see’ these zones of destruction in the world are actually arising from the land itself?” and goes on “It is our spiritual responsibility to acknowledge these losses. What if this (our grief) is the anima mundi, the soul of the world, weeping through us? We cannot remain separate – we are called to hold space for our Mother while She weeps through us.” So we weep – the screams of dying koalas and the horrendous silence of so many Others echoing in our consciousness – while our bodies are seared with the awareness of their pain.

Walking on the Land, singing to the Land, my voice cracks and stops as the tears break through. I take in the majestic trees surrounding me – magnificent old flooded gums, wandoo, jarrah, marri, paperbarks – I pray ardently for their safety. I start to wonder about what is being mirrored back to us by these fires.

I hear “Look into the centre of the fires – do not turn away from the suffering and the destruction. Know that you are witnessing the extinction of some of my precious Creations and recognize the role that you humans have played in their destruction. Remain present. Witness.”

I hear “There has been enough killing. Enough! Enough! Enough! You take life so lightly when it is not yours.”

I remember that Australia has the highest extinction rate of flora and fauna in the world. I remember that Aboriginal Australians lived on this Land for at least 80,000 years and survived in its many ecosystems, living sustainably and in deep relationship. I remember that it has taken less than 250 years for others – wrapped in an arrogant certainty – to wastefully use and destroy so much bounty. I remember that this attitude today is laying waste to our few remaining pristine wilderness areas. I recognise the world-wide actions which have led to the fiery destruction of so many innocent lives here on this Land.

I recall a primary truth: “You must learn deep reverence and profound respect for all Life and the interconnectedness of all Beings. You must embrace ‘not knowing’. Know your place in the web of Life and learn what you must do to be generative and life-giving.” The price of failure to respond to these directions is simply too immense to contemplate.

So we sing.

“If you listen intently, you can hear the universe singing its song of hydrogen, the first and the sustained note in the melody of creation.” N.J.Berrill, a Canadian zoologist. I have long found these words inviting and inspiring. I have imagined all the hydrogen atoms singing their chorus– the song so marvellous that two hydrogen atoms beguiled a newly created oxygen to sing and dance with them and the song was beauty and the dance was fecund, birthing the first molecule of water – and Life on a small planet at the far edge of the Milky Way became possible.

Listen intently. Listen to the hydrogen in your cells singing – the hydrogen in everything around you singing – the original interconnecting force in the universe is a song. How can we not sing? The invitation is there – has existed since the beginning to join the chorus, to find our song, to sing to all other Beings, human and more-than-human, an offering to our Mother in wonder and gratitude for all of Her creations, for Life itself.

Earthsongwave is the progeny of the song of hydrogen – a manifestation of the Earth’s imagining. As each voice is raised, before dawn, to sing to the Earth and all the Beings She has birthed, an energy is released, a creative power pulses through the air and Life shines brighter.

Australia is the oldest landmass on the planet. It is one of the first places to sing welcome to the new day. It is the place where song began – as all song birds and about 80% of all birds have their origins here. It is a tragedy that the superb lyrebird, descendent of the most ancient songbird to exist, may become extinct as a result of the fires. This year, Earthsongwave is needed more than ever.

So let us raise our voices to welcome the dawn on April 1 – let us find our courage and take a long look into the centre of the flames.

Let us sing a requiem for what is gone, affirming we will not turn away.

Let us sing a glorious alleluia for the new day and for the life around us wakening to join the wave of sound rippling around the globe – honouring our Mother and bringing blessing and healing as it flows across the planet.

May Earthsongwave 2020 be a wild crescendo of our commitment to Life.

Jenni says of herself: "I love singing. There is something magical and mystical about hearing one's own voice lifted in song with others and I have enjoyed many experiences of community singing in Victoria, Australia where I lived til fairly recently. I have been 'wild singing' for some years, long before I had a name for it - singing to the world and having the birds, the stream, the wind respond brings wild joy to my heart. This year Earthsongwave Dawn Chorus for me will be a sacramental offering - in honour of the billion voices, now silent, after our bushfires - within the chalice created by the voices uplifted around the world."

Thank you Jenni York for for your offering for Earthsongwave Dawn Chorus 2020. Jenni is also a contact for Earthsongwave Dawn Chorus in Western Australia.

Photograph Brodribb River, Goongerah, Far East Gippsland, Victoria, Australia

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Updated: Mar 12, 2020

Waking in the womb of my yurt several times during this late winter night, i hear strange wheezy breaths of someone small living in the walls insulation. Later, the quiet buzz of queen wasp who insists that this place is also where she will overwinter - an uneasy sharing as she often flies close to my face as drawn to the reading light and locates herself in the walls near it. Barn owl is testing out a small creaking call that I've not heard before; Vixen is wailing her desire across the alder woods and the sharp bark of dog fox in reply as they move towards life-making echoes, and its ending emphasises the silence..

It is the season of imbolc.. i open my eyes to darkness, to winds soft insistence and the sporadic spatter of rain on canvas.. Opening the door i see the misty valley arriving from nighttime - trees still in silhouette and five fallow deer navigating the deep rushy meadows like seals half-submerged, to the sound of rain glutted stream making its way down the hill. A bullfinch sits on hawthorn's branch close by - his markings seem unfeasibly bright, surreal against the grey-green merging of a welsh spring morning.

I feel loss as my ears attune to the quieter songs – in this season for ten years I heard the rich bubbling call of toad from beneath the yurt where he rested for winter. For the last five years there has been silence and the small splashes from the nearby pond that signify spawn arriving have left the song of this place and tadpoles no longer dart amongst the bullrushes.

I find myself wondering about the unique everyday song of this piece of land that is rewilding me. I’m tracking how its song changes as the seasons move through it, like my voice changes with the yearly seasons and life seasons as I move from maiden to mother to crone. Similar to how the pitch and tone of human voices change at puberty and with ageing, I wonder how this land sounded before the industrial revolution, the mass extinction … how the so-many-more insects, birds, mammals, trees, rivers sang together before the growl of the combustion engine was carried here on the east wind; the shriek of planes going over twenty times a day and the chainsaw snarling into living wood became the new “normal”. Before this diminished version of life on earth became what we call “wild”.

Yesterday I spent the whole day outside, gardening and wooding. Stillness, birdsong and west wind that meant that car noise was muted by its muffling moisture. As I added compost to the veggie beds, I was humbled again by the tenacity of life; in cold soil, calendula seeds are sending forth their simple two-leaf seedlings, and in leaf litter, sweet chestnuts and hazels are cracking open as their pristine white root protrudes from their rain darkened shells. I felt something stir in me, a sound like a sigh and a sob cracked me open as I felt the balance point of this seasonal shift..the relief for what has made it through the cold times and the sadness for what has not. Nuthatch is singing so passionately and relentlessly for a mate that, for a moment I wish I had grey wing feathers and a black stripe over my eye, so I could fly up and join him..

As ever, our unique songs are called for ..the song that you and I were born to sing. We are made from earth, by earth, for earth and there’s an old harmony we share with all those others that we live alongside on this green sphere hurtling through space to mystery-knows-where. It’s time now; it is time to find your part in that harmony, and sing it as wholeheartedly as nuthatch, east wind, stream, vixen, grief...at dawn on April 1st, join with others in an earth/song/wave and be a love-offering to the planet upon whom our existence depends.

Imbolc Gelli Aur Imbolc

all dead still

in my woods now-

starkest depths

Ystragil naked

beyond sight

smallest stirrings -

seed-fires burn

in darkest caverns

beyond sound

a sweet trickle

sap-tide turns

beneath bitter bark.

starving bird,

black against frost

finds beetle

woken, and he lives -

branches cradling

his new-born

joy. Yule’s inbreath

ends with warmth and

Earth’s eyelids flutter.


Thank you Bell Selkie Lovelock for your offering for Earthsongwave Dawn Chorus 2020. Bell Selkie Lovelock has been rooting into Cymru for 25 years, rewilding alongside 40 acres of ex- chemical dairy land. Courting the edge where the worlds meet, and other-than-humans and dreamworld dialogue with consensus reality is her niche, and her writing arises from that ecotone. She calls her work the Resecration Project – restoring to sacredness those which have been desecrated, viewing this as part of a new indigeny and a direct action for system change. Bell Selkie Lovelock is also a contact for Earthsongwave Dawn Chorus in Wales.

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